They are young, they are intrepid and they stand at the vanguard of a new revolution. We give you an overview of six Delhi based groups who believe in going beyond the archaic norms of conformity with a creative edge and talent that is both fresh and brimming with promise.
Founded in the year 2011, Saanjha Sapnaa is headed by 34-year-old actor-turned-director Ishwar Shunya who, after more than ten years of being on stage, decided to direct plays that were exciting for him as a theatre person. “I wanted to do some serious, contemporary, issue based plays. No one took my endeavour seriously. I had a lot of trouble convincing actors to be a part of my productions,” says Shunya. Having won Best Play two years in a row in New Delhi’s Short and Sweet Festival in 2010 and 2011 Shunya admits that cracking the scene is a tough bet. “Lack of rehearsal space and no grants by government run theatre bodies makes it very tough for newcomers to grow,” he says.CRAZY SPOTLIGHT PRODUCTIONS
Helmed by 24-year-old Nikhil Mehta and founded in the year 2007 with six productions under its belt, this is perhaps one of the first game changer to have capitalised on the young as their audience. "I wanted to create work that spoke to me as a young person living in Delhi," says Mehta, currently pursuing his masters in film direction from Columbia University. Known for their annual summer productions, during Mehta’s visits to his hometown, CSP’s plays are known to be humourous social satires. "Our goals are evolving and so will our future shows," he affirms. Quiz him on the impediments that he faced, Mehta says "Rigidity, archaic rules and conventionalism were our worst enemies. I hope we can learn to grow and be open to the limitless possibilities of our times."
“Humour Me uses entertainment as a tool to come to solutions for organisations, corporate houses & finally individuals,” says 24-year-old Dhruv Sachdeva, one of the founders of this unique entertainment company. Set up in the January 2012, this group “uses various performance styles and experiments with a host of genres. Humour Me tries to provide the most fantastical entertainment in the most unconventional spaces,” Sachdeva adds. In spite of having pioneered the concept of musicals, improvs and customised entertainment for corporate entities, success didn’t come easy. “We had to create the need and make our clients understand the need to for something as unique as this. It is almost as if we have to educate audiences as we go along,” Sachdeva says.
FREE PARKING THEATRE COMPANY
In the circuit since the year 2009, FPTC is the brainchild of 23-year-old Pranay Manchanda, Arnav Nanduri and Kabir Nath. “There is a certain sentimentality that we have and we weren't getting to do that kind of work,” says Manchanda when asked as to what led to FPTC. “With the plays that we do and have done in the past, we have tried dabbling various genres so as to not lose out on quality and the content. Our focus remains on the story and storytelling,” he adds. An audience choice award for Best Play at Delhi Short and Sweet 2012 just affirms their potential. FPTC also conducts workshops in schools and colleges, and they recently ventured into filmmaking. One of their short films won four awards, including Best Film, at the 48-hour Film Project held in 2012. “Our aim is to keep moving and making things better,” adds Nanduri.
22-year-old actor/director, and Founder of ESE, Madhav Mehta does not mince his words when you ask him the why started his own entertainment company. "To do epic shit," he says. A three member collaboration, ESE is a just four months old, and is down one production which won accolades for not just its unconventional name and its satirical tone, but also its ribald and bold content. "We’d like to break the convention of censorship," Mehta adds. "Our aim is to reach out to all those oblivious to theatre’s potential," says 20-year-old Akash Mehta, Assistant Director, ESE. Whatever be the impediments, team ESE seems unflinching. As 24-year-old Farhad Colabavala, the group’s Producer, sums it up, "We have got the process going. We have to find ways to take it further."
Founded in the year 2011, Saanjha Sapnaa is headed by 34-year-old actor-turned-director Ishwar Shunya who, after more than ten years of being on stage, decided to direct plays that were exciting for him as a theatre person. “I wanted to do some serious, contemporary, issue based plays. No one took my endeavour seriously. I had a lot of trouble convincing actors to be a part of my productions,” says Shunya. Having won Best Play two years in a row in New Delhi’s Short and Sweet Festival in 2010 and 2011 Shunya admits that cracking the scene is a tough bet. “Lack of rehearsal space and no grants by government run theatre bodies makes it very tough for newcomers to grow,” he says.
Set up in the year 2009, The Tadpole Repertory is a collective of theatre practitioners committed to producing and promoting new and inventive work in the city. With five productions under their banner and one in the offing the USP of this group, apart from having a permanent rehearsal space, is their dedication to original content. "There are very few groups in the city who are interested in developing new material," says 30-year-old Neel Chaudhuri, creative director of the group. Ask him what is it that Delhi lacks as a theatre community, Chaudhuri admits, "There is no support and no involvement among theatre groups, which can stunt growth."